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Migrating birds not adjusting to climate change, study says

A new study of bird flight patterns suggests that some species are changing their migration schedules to deal with warmer weather.

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Scientists say that some birds are changing their migration patterns to deal with climate change. (DPA/AFP/Getty Images)

According to a new report, some types of birds on the East Coast of North America are adjusting their migration patterns in order to adjust to climate change.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said that rising temperatures due to climate change have forced some birds to change their migration schedule by up to six days, while others were not affected at all, reported Bloomberg.

ScienceDaily has reported that the new research was collected using eBird, a citizen science program database consisting of 10 years of observations from amateur birdwatchers. According to the researchers, eBird has collected more than 48 million bird observations from approximately 35,000 birdwatchers.

The information was analyzed by biology professor, Allen Hurlbert, and his team, who looked at the migration patterns of 18 different species of birds and found that the birds in the study changed their migration departure date nearly a day earlier for every Celsius degree of warming spring temperature, says Science Codex.

The repercussions for birds who fail to adjust their flight patterns could be dire, say researchers.

"Timing of bird migration is something critical for the overall health of bird species," Hurlbert said as quoted by ScienceDaily. "If they get it wrong, they may die or may not produce as many young. A change in migration could begin to contribute to population decline, putting many species at risk for extinction."

The study results were published in the journal Public Library of Science on Wednesday.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/business-tech/science/120223/migrating-birds-not-adjusting-climate-change-study-says